Egyptian Art 115
identified art with technique. And the Egyptians, as we know,
were masters of technique.
From the moment when the inhabitants of the Nile valley
emerge into the light of history, they are no longer confined,
within the boundaries of their own country. The earliest in-
scriptions preserve the traditional name of cThe Nine Bows',
representing the hereditary enemies of Egypt. One of the oldest
reliefs is carved on the rocks of Mount Sinai; and the records
of the earliest dynasties speak of expeditions into Asia. Frag-
ments of Egyptian stone vases have been discovered in the lower
strata of Cretan sites, while on one island of the Greek archi-
pelago a vessel has come to light which formed part of the
furniture of a Solar Temple belonging to the Fifth Dynasty.
At Byblus, on the coast of Syria, an Egyptian temple existed
as early as the Second Dynasty, and relations between the two
countries were unbroken down to the end of the Old Kingdom.
The princes of Byblus, at the time of the Middle Kingdom,
received gifts from the Pharaohs of Egypt, and their arms and
jewellery, decorated in the Egyptian style, bore hieroglyphic
inscriptions. The magical vases in Berlin and the clay figures
of captured prisoners in the museums of Cairo and Brussels
bear witness to the accuracy of geographical knowledge about
the Asiatic world at the beginning of the second millennium
B.C. The Egyptians explored the regions of the Upper Nile,
and their ships traversed the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
The old idea of the isolation of Egypt is practically extinct.
Though details must be omitted here, it should be remem-
bered that under the New Kingdom Thebes was the centre of
the world, and its god Amun was called the King of the gods.
Within the walls of this capital city, representatives of all nations
bore in procession their customary tribute. Egyptian traders
carried the products of industrial art throughout the Mediter-
ranean basin, while the kings of Asia begged for them as tokens
of friendship, or carried them off wholesale when their victorious